One of the most efficient striker in Major League Soccer was the star of the Nutmeg Podcast on Tuesday with 610 Sports Radio host Josh Klinger.
Erik Hurtado, who has bagged five goals this season in just 376 minutes of action, has been one of several breakout performers for Sporting Kansas City over the course of 2020. The 30-year-old forward leads MLS with 1.2 goals per 90 minutes and was one of five Sporting players with at least five goals this year.
The next step for Hurtado is arguably the most important one of his career. On Sunday, he and top-seeded Sporting will host the San Jose Earthquakes in Round One of the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs. The momentous occasion comes at an exciting time for Hurtado, who earlier this month welcomed his firstborn son Trystan into the world.
"That was a cool shot, and the best part about is that we won the game," Hurtado said of his world-class volley that gave Sporting a pivotal 2-1 victory over Nashville SC on Oct. 11 at Children's Mercy Park. "It's up for the Goal of the Year and that's cool and everything, but at the end of the day, those three points added to us eventually finishing in first place.
"I've gotten to a place now where I know that I'm going to get my chance, and when I do, I need to score and make the most of the opportunity."
Needless to say, Hurtado and Sporting are in full preparation mode for Sunday's playoff encounter, which will kick off at 3 p.m. CT with live coverage on FS1, FOX Deportes and the FOX Sports app. Hurtado believes the sold-out, reduced-capacity crowd at Children's Mercy Park could make all the difference in the postseason, as Sporting will have homefield advantage on the Western Conference side of the bracket.
"This is the best position we could have put ourselves in," Hurtado said of a Sporting side that finished first in the Western Conference table with a club-record 1.86 points per game. "Every team wants that homefield advantage. We're going to have fans in the stands, which is going to help a lot. It's amazing that we're going to be able to play in front of our fans in a game like this. Last year was a letdown, and this year we're trying to make it up to them. They're going to be able to help support us."
The Nutmeg Podcast: Previous Season 2 Episodes
- Episode 201: Defender Graham Zusi (Jan. 14, 2020)
- Episode 202: Goalkeeper Tim Melia and defender Cameron Duke (Jan. 29, 2020)
- Episode 203: Forward Khiry Shelton (Feb. 12, 2020)
- Episode 204: Forward Daniel Salloi (Feb. 25, 2020)
- Episode 205: Veterans Matt Besler, Roger Espinoza and Graham Zusi (March 10, 2020)
- Episode 206: Manager Peter Vermes talks COVID-19 (March 20, 2020)
- Episode 207: Forward Johnny Russell (March 26, 2020)
- Episode 208: Retired midfielder Benny Feilhaber (April 16, 2020)
- Episode 209: Midfielder and eMLS star Wan Kuzain (May 6, 2020)
- Episode 210: Retired goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen (May 19, 2020)
- Episode 211: Assistant coach Kerry Zavagnin (June 11, 2020)
- Episode 212: Midfielder Roger Espinoza (June 24, 2020)
- Episode 213: Manager Peter Vermes (July 14, 2020)
- Episode 214: Defender Graham Smith (Aug. 11, 2020)
- Episode 215: Midfielder Felipe Hernandez (Aug. 25, 2020)
- Episode 216: Defender Amadou Dia (Sept. 22, 2020)
- Episode 217: Defender Winston Reid (Oct. 13, 2020)